SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – A local attorney and former colleague of U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama in the 1980s said it was “common knowledge” that he pursued high school girls.
Teresa Jones is a partner at Sarasota law firm Syprett, Meshad, Resnick, Lieb, Dumbaugh, Jones, Krotec & Westheimer. Her bio on the firm’s website shows she worked as a city attorney in Gadsden, Alabama at the same time Moore was a deputy district attorney in the same county. Moore would have been in his 30s at the time.
The Senate candidate —who already has a long and controversial history—came under intense scrutiny Thursday when four women told the Washington Post he pursued them when they were between the ages of 14 to 18, while he was in his 30s.
“It was common knowledge that Roy dated high school girls,” said Jones. “Everyone we knew thought it was weird. We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall … but you really wouldn’t say anything to someone like that.”
The most damning accusation in the article comes from Leigh Corfman, who told the Post that Moore sexually touched her in 1979 when she was 14 and he was 32.
CNN also reports a former boyfriend of Corfman’s confirmed she told him the same story when he dated her back in 2009.
Moore denies the allegations, but didn’t entirely dispute dating girls that young in a radio interview with Sean Hannity on Friday.
HANNITY: Do you remember dating girls that young at that time?
MOORE: Not generally, no. If I did, I’m not gonna dispute anything. But I don’t remember anything like that.
HANNITY: But you don’t specifically remember having any girlfriend that was in her late teens even, at that time?
MOORE: No, I don’t remember that, and I don’t remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother.
Since the accusations came to light, a slew of Republicans have withdrawn their support or called for Moore to drop out of the race if the allegations are true. Those include former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).
President Donald Trump responded to the allegations in a statement through White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday.
“Like most Americans, the president does not believe we can allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life. However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.”
The problem with the “step aside if true” approach by Moore’s own party is that Moore says he’s not dropping out.
If he does, many people would take it as a de facto confirmation that the allegations are true. If he stays in the race—one which he still may win—they remain just allegations.
And that’s not something most Republicans want, because while staunch conservatives in Alabama support him, he’s much less popular with moderate Republicans.
He ran for governor of Alabama twice, failing both times, and that was long before the latest allegations.
Moore has been a thorn in the GOP’s side for years due to his “extreme” views.
He was removed as chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court twice—once for refusing to take down a statue of the Ten Commandments from the lobby of the state judicial building, and again in a second term for urging judges to defy the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.
He has said “homosexuality should be illegal” and compared it to bestiality.
In February, he suggested in a campaign speech that 9/11 might have happened because the U.S. turned its back on God.
And twice he appeared to refer to Native Americans and Asians as “reds” and “yellows” in a campaign speech, later tweeting the same language.
It is because of these radical views that most analysts believe President Trump supported Moore’s competitor in the Republican primary, Luther Strange. But Moore crushed Strange by 10 percent in that primary despite Trump’s endorsement.
It’s too late for Republicans to replace Moore on the ballot next month, though there is some chatter about trying to push a write-in candidate to challenge him—possibly Strange.
The special election is being held for the Senate seat left open by Jeff Sessions when he became attorney general—and it’s a big one.
Republicans hold a slight majority with 52 seats to the Democrats 46 plus two independents who typically caucus with them.
But Republicans can’t afford to lose another seat.
Outgoing Senators McCain, Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) and Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) are in clear opposition to President Trump, and possibly parts of his legislative agenda, making a 51-seat majority that much more precarious.
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